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Developers show interest in Nokia-Microsoft tie-up

New developer interest in Windows Phone 7 amid speculation before last week's Nokia-Microsoft announcement is a signal to one analytics firm.

A burst of activity in Windows Phone 7 projects may be a sign that developers see promise in a Nokia-Microsoft tie-up, according to analytics firm Flurry.

Even before Nokia and Microsoft revealed late last week their proposed deal for Windows Phone 7 on Nokia phones, speculation about it apparently led to a surge in developer interest. Tracking the mobile platforms based on new projects started by developers, Flurry said it had seen relatively flat numbers for Windows Phone 7 for the month or so prior to last week.

But with speculation making the rounds early last week about a possible Microsoft and Nokia deal, Flurry saw a 66 percent jump in Windows Phone 7 project starts ahead of the actual announcement.

For comparison, Flurry noted how developer interest in Android has grown.

When Android first started grabbing customers, there were still doubts among developers over whether Android apps could be lucrative. But over time, developers took to Google's OS and saw that they could make money, which has helped the Android market expand, according to Flurry. The same may now hold true for Windows Phone 7.

The "spike in Windows Phone 7 developer activity shows that developers not only believe Nokia has given Microsoft Windows Phone7 a shot in the arm, but also that Nokia and Microsoft together can build a viable ecosystem," Flurry said Friday in a blog post.

Looking at other mobile platforms, developer interest in Android has remained relatively steady and risen a bit over the past several weeks, but RIM's BlackBerry OS has seen a marked downturn recently, according to Flurry's data.

Flurry provides analytics tools that developers build into their apps to monitor how they're being used. The company can analyze interest in mobile platforms by tracking project starts, which occur when a developer adds Flurry's software development kit to a new app before it's released. Flurry says that 38,000 developers have so far created projects using its SDK.